October 2002 Bulletin

Support U.S. Bone and Joint Decade

National Bone and Joint Decade Awareness Week Oct. 12–20, 2002

By Carolyn Rogers

If the date on your calendar reads anywhere from Saturday, Oct. 12th though Sunday, Oct. 20th, it’s time to acknowledge and celebrate U.S. Bone and Joint Decade (BJD) National Awareness Week. For starters, "Don’t let any patient leave your office without hearing about the Decade!" urges Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, chair of the U.S. BJD.

Creating awareness

Why tell your patients about the Bone and Joint Decade?

The answer to that question lies in the stated objective of the Decade: To improve the quality of life for people affected by musculoskeletal conditions and to advance the understanding and treatment of these conditions through research, prevention and education.

Orthopaedists have a major role to play in the "education and "prevention" aspects of this mission, says Toby King, recently named the executive director of the U.S. BJD.

"Doctors don’t have time to inform their patients about every possible musculoskeletal ailment and every preventive measure," he acknowledges. "But they can tell their patients where to go for information and encourage them to educate themselves."

Creating greater awareness of musculoskeletal conditions and simple preventive measures in just one patient can have a ‘ripple effect’ with family, friends and colleagues, he says.

"If a mother comes in for a sore shoulder, encourage her to educate herself not only on her condition, but about other common musculoskeletal problems as well," King says. "In the process, she may come across safety tips that could prevent her mother from falling and breaking a hip, or guidelines for the early prevention of osteoporosis that will dramatically improve her daughter’s future quality of life."

Increased public awareness of the tremendous impact musculoskeletal conditions and diseases can have on quality of life can, in turn, benefit the Decade’s research goals, King explains. When the time comes to push for legislation to increase funding for musculoskeletal research, a well-informed public can make all the difference.

Promoting the Decade

Orthopaedic surgeon Courtney W. Brown, MD, of Golden, Colo., is actively promoting the Decade at his practice.

The reasons to support and promote the Decade are obvious, he says.

"As people get older, they already know to be concerned about their heart and lungs," Dr. Brown says. "But they’re surprised to discover that musculoskeletal problems can have a dramatic effect on their quality of life—their ability to enjoy life. They discover that ‘my hip hurts,’ or ‘my knee hurts’ and they can’t do the things they want to do."

With a rapidly growing senior population, Dr. Brown says, "We need to be able to take care of these bone and joint problems, spine problems and other problems adequately in order to give people that quality of life. That’s what the Bone and Joint Decade is all about, so obviously I want to support it and make my patients aware of it."

Dr. Brown, who is active on the AAOS Board of Councilors, is in the process of incorporating the U.S. BJD logo on his practice’s letterhead, and plans to have an 18-by-24 inch placard made from the logo to display prominently in his reception room. "It’s all about awareness," he says, and encourages other orthopaedists to follow his lead.

National Action Network redesigned Web site

A newly redesigned U.S. BJD Web site—scheduled to launch just in time for National Bone and Joint Decade Awareness Week—makes promoting the Decade even easier. The site’s dynamic new design offers users a multitude of resources, such as the "Patient Information" section. This feature provides patients with useful, reliable information on a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and diseases through links to BJD-supporting organization Web sites. Listings are grouped into patient-friendly categories such as "ankle," "hip," "shoulder," "rehabilitation," and "sports."

In addition, a new "Best Sites" feature will provide links to the most informative and dynamic musculoskeletal-related sites available—such as the best sites for specific audiences such as children, sedentary people or weekend athletes. The "best sites" for specific ailments—such as sports injuries, back pain or osteoporosis—also will be posted. If you have a suggestion for a "best site" not currently included in the listing, please e-mail the URL to: tobyking@usbjd.org.

"Don’t let a patient leave your office" without referring them to the new U.S. BJD site! (www.boneandjointdecade.org/usa)

Eye-catching brochure

The release of a distinctive new U.S. BJD brochure also coincides with National Awareness Week. In a matter of minutes you can download the brochure from the U.S. BJD Web site, personalize it to your practice and hand it out to all your patients during National Awareness Week and beyond.

Check out this brochure today!

Contact U.S. BJD

King reminds members that all Academy fellows are free to place the U.S. BJD logo on their letterhead, business cards, Web sites and the like. Just e-mail the U.S. BJD office at tobyking @usbjd.org or call the U.S. BJD headquarters at (847) 384-4010 to request the logo, BJD stickers or printed brochures.

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